The Self-Destruction of the US: The Only Way Out is Through a Revolution.
America. The land of dreams. Crashing. Burning. Dying.
George Floyd’s disturbingly haunting unjust death was only the very tip of the iceberg that has been growing bigger and colder in the recent decades.
The orthodoxy of globalization and centralization has for too long benefited the rich at the expense of the poor (169 billionaires ‘too poor’ to make the Forbes list of the 400 Richest Americans), the unaffordable medical care is literally killing people (around 27m people — 10 per cent of the non-elderly US population — have no insurance at all and are living on the edge), the gun violence (by the end of 2019, there were 417 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the non-profit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks every mass shooting in the country. Thirty-one of those shootings were mass murders.), the police brutality resulting in 1,004 fatal shootings in 2019, the immigration system crying for a reform, and well, Donald Trump.
Combine all of that with the recent staggering unemployment rates brought by the Coronavirus pandemic (40 million Americans have reportedly claimed unemployment benefits so far, with the number to grow even higher). Wonder why people are so angry? Wonder why they are vandalizing stores and looting all over the American land? What else is left for them to do? To despair and die miserably or irate even if so purposelessly that one can only run around streets smashing cars and everything they see?
It is not heroic. Destructing businesses and creating more violence is in no way praisable. But when you get to a point where you’ve got nothing left to live for, you go all in — you scream, you cry, you fight, you don’t care anymore. You have no money, no job, you are going to lose your house, you can’t feed your children, you can’t get medical care, you are racially abused, you fear for your life on every corner — what do you do? I ask you — what do you do? Join the millions others suffering the same and set fire.
We glorify this entrepreneurial millennial with its technical advances, young business owners and the possibilities to work from anywhere in the world and live the dream. But in times of trouble, how is this helping us? It takes more than a social media post to make a difference. There is still no treatment for a novel virus, there is still inequality everywhere despite of all the riots, and there are still unjust killings and wrongful convictions despite all the millions of dollars thrown in by those so-called CEOs and self-made celebrities into random causes. Perhaps we are forgetting a simple and fundamental solution — perhaps we should put more money into educating our law enforcement and justice system before it’s too late and someone has to pay for the funerals of innocent black men killed on the side of the road in daylight.
CEOs in 1965 made 24 times more than the average production worker, whereas in 2009 they made 185 times more, and in 2018 — 361 times more. The Federal Reserve estimates that the top 1% holds slightly more wealth (31.1%) than entire the bottom 90% of the population (29.9%), and their share has rising been over time, and yet the federal government taxes income, but generally doesn’t tax wealth (except when someone makes a profit on the sale of assets, such as a share of stock or a piece of property). If the richest 1% of American households paid at the same rates they did in the 40s and 50s, the change could be transformative.
So are we really in a place where we were better off in the 50s? Women are no longer viewed as “housewives” today, but in 2020 they are still getting paid less, racism is still present and in peak, the gap between social statuses is larger than ever. We would be lucky to go backwards. We are destructing what citizens of the world have been fighting for since the beginning of time.
The current violent protests in the US are disturbing and sad, but are they unneccessary? I don’t thinks so.
Before most major revolutions, there’s a substantial increase in the number of protests. Populations display their grievances via marches, petitions and protests, and we have seen some of the largest protests in the US history happen in the recent years (2017 Women’s March -3,300,000–5,600,000 participants; 2018 Women’s March — 1,500,000 participants; 2018 March for Our Lives — 1,200,000–2,000,000 participants, and the Black Lives Matter movement which started in 2013 and continues to attract millions of protesters all over the world up to today).
What we have seen from past revolutions is that if the protesters’ concerns remain unaddressed, these protests become more extreme: petitions become strikes, marches become violent uprisings. Resistance becomes a daily fact of life and political organization commonplace. Sound familiar? As things stand today, America is pretty much on the verge of it and I don’t see any other way out. Do you?